Cry, the Blessed Country

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Liberia has been a blessed country from day one.  Imagine a country started by freed men and women just out of slavery in the United States, who decided at the spur of the moment to convene a Constitutional Convention that, with nothing except faith in God and the WILL to do so, proclaimed a Declaration of Independence on July 26, 1847.  That is when Liberia became Africa’s first independent state.

We can today say with utmost certainty that this nation was inspired by God Himself, sustained and protected by Him all through the years.

Situated between the colonial territories of two of the world’s most powerful imperial nations, Great Britain and France, it is, again, only by God’s grace  that we survived the territorial aggrandizement of these two imperial powers.  For they, with their economic, military and political might, attacked us, chopping off huge chunks of our land from ALL sides: Britain from the east, seizing huge chunks of the Gallinas Country that became part of Sierra Leone; and France, who attacked this penniless and helpless first independent African State from all of the remaining sides–the north and east that became part of Guinea, and the south, which became part of the Ivory Coast.

Our mother country, the United States which, unlike Great Britain (1848) and the Germanic States (1850s), did not recognize Liberia’s Independence until, thanks to President Abraham Lincoln, 15  years later in 1862, turned a blind eye to all of these territorial attacks against her beleaguered step child.  It is a blessing that Liberia managed to retain her 43,000 square miles.

As we said in a much earlier editorial following the Ebola outbreak entitled “This, Too, Shall Pass,” Liberia has faced many other very serious challenges, including many diseases, such as malaria, that decimated the immigrant and indigenous populations.  Then came the Great Depression in 1929, in which Liberia lost a lot of its trade with the West.

Another crisis followed that same year–the Fernando Po Crisis that threatened the nation’s sovereignty.   But thanks to the courage and ingenuity of President Edwin J. Barclay and his Secretary of State Louis Arthur Grimes, that crisis passed over us.

The next major crisis was the political upheaval of 1955, when the True Whig Party under President W.V.S. Tubman destroyed the Independent True Whig Party, killed David Coleman and his son and set the stage for the untimely death of the man many say was Liberia’s greatest President, Edwin J. Barclay.

This was followed by the next crisis–the 1980 coup d’état that put us through 10 years of terror, leading to the greatest of all crises–the 14 year civil war.

We had not substantively recovered from that turmoil when the deadly Ebola pandemic hit us, igniting the most serious health and medical challenge Liberians have ever faced.

But in spite of the apocalyptic predictions of many global health and medical institutions who should know better, the deadly

Ebola storm is passing over Liberia.  This is a huge blessing rightfully acknowledged by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her remarks during last Friday’s prayer service.

There abounds, however, even more blessings.  In addition to the tremendous outpouring of relief resources from almost everywhere, the world’s two greatest nations, China and the United States, have pledged to help us rebuild our country in the post-Ebola period!  We submit, in humble thanksgiving to God, that this is truly a blessing.  The big question is, What are we Liberians going to do with these blessings?  Are we going to squander them as we have done so many others in the past by our mean and selfish attitude towards one another? By our lack of patriotism? By our apathetic and indifferent attitude to our work? By our lack of work ethic?

It is these attitudes and behaviors that have caused us to remain, even though the oldest, and despite our immense natural resources and the help we have been given over the decades, one of Africa’s most backward countries.

We weep for our nation and people if our appeal to CHANGE THE WAY WE DO THINGS falls on deaf ears.

We are convinced that if we Liberians change our ways and start loving one another and putting our people and country first, before self; if we become HARDWORKING, DETERMINED, COMMITTED AND FOCUSED on making the very best use of the help we are promised by these two great nations, other nations and peoples will follow, and post-Ebola Liberia could rise to become a developed and great nation.

May God grant that we will, as never before, just get serious and DO IT.

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